Introduction: Business Card Pixel Art

This instructable shows you how to fold business cards into cubes and then how to turn those cubes into some large scale pixel art.

The space invader was the first thing I stumbled across when looking for ideas. It's perfect because it uses only a few pixels (8x11 to be exact) and only 2 colours. This limits the number of business cards I have to fold. Most of those early computer game sprites would be ideal for this project.

Everybody in our company was supplied with 1000 business cards, through some fluke I managed to get 2000 of my own. Given that I've only used 20 business cards in the last 2 years I thought I could find an alternate use for the rest. Here are the results from 2 weeks worth of lunchtime folding.

Step 1: Folding Single Cubes - the Parts

To fold business cards into cubes you need to start with a stack of business cards (obviously). Each cube takes 6 business cards. To make it easier I first folded a number of cards into the appropriate '[' shapes and then assembled them into cubes.

You can use one card as a guide to fold the other cards. Place one card on top of another but 90 degrees rotated. Fold the bottom card where it sticks out past the top card. This will leave you with 2 flaps on the card a square section in the middle, this section will become one side of your cube.

When you have 6 or more of these then you can start to fold them into a cube.

Step 2: Folding Single Cubes - the Cubes

Now that you should have 6 '[' shape business cards you can start to assemble them into a cube.

Take the first card and lay it flat on a surface.

Place a second card along one side of the first business card. The flap should be under the bottom card.

The third card should be placed towards the back of the cube, so that all 3 cards form a corner. Each card shall be held in place by one card and in turn should hold one other card into place.

Card 4, sits opposite card 2.

Card 5 should slid nicely down on the front of the cube.

Card 6 fits on top, you should be able to slide it across the top of the cube and under the flap from card 2. With a bit of wiggling you can lift the flap of card 4 and fold it down over card 6.

I've tried to describe it here, but honestly pictures tell a thousand words so look at those at it should be obvious how it all fits together. As you can see each card is held in with 2 business cards and each card in turn holds in 2 other cards.

Step 3: Connecting Cubes Together

As you saw from the previous step I showed you how to make a white cube, but if you were to fold the business cards in the other direction you'd have a different colour cube (In this case a very light blue). Once you have 2 different colour cubes to chose from you can start to make a picture.

I found it much easier to build the second cube already connected to the first cube. From the photos you can see that the first two cards are tucked directly into the flaps of the previous cube. The rest of the cards are then added around this like just like they were for the first cube.

By placing white and 'black' cubes in the right location you can start to build up the desired picture.

Step 4: Time for Pixel Art

By constructing some cubes with the plain side out and others with the text side out you get 2 different colours of cubes which can be used to create your pixel art.

The first version of my space invader used my not very colourful business cards. As you can see from the first photo this didn't provide a great contrast for the image. It was however good enough for my colleages to guess what the image finally was so if your business cards are darker on one side this may well be your final stage.

To make it stant out more I started to colour in the black cubes with a big felt pen. The contrast for this was a lot better but it made it look rather scruffy so I had to do something else to improve it.

To provide a much cleaner front to the cubes you can wedge another business card onto the front of the boxes. By folding even more business cards, and making some of my own cards out of black cardboard. I created an entire fascia for the wall of business cards, giving the whole thing a much cleaner look.

So if you've got 600 business cards and a few hours spare you too could have your very own business card space invader art.

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